Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Microsoft Responds

Microsoft has responded (see here) to my write-up about the need to adopt the Open Document Format. As may be expected, they are just trying to convince people with propaganda. Since Infochange is unwilling to publish my response to Microsoft's clarification, I have to do it here. So here goes:

Microsoft says, "At the outset, Microsoft software is completely interoperable."

I think this must be a joke. Just today, the media report (see here for a report in The Hindu) that Microsoft has been fined a record $1.35 billion by the European Commission regulators for not complying with their 2004 order related to an anti-trust case. The case was that Microsoft has been trying to avoid giving essential information required for interoperability to others by asking for a huge price. As the report says, "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," Let me quote a couple of lines more from the report:

"Microsoft has tried to allay European antitrust concerns, announcing last week that it will help competitors' software work better with some products, such as MS Office.

It sought to limit potential EU fines by agreeing in October to make network data available to open-source software developers so their server software can connect to the Windows operating system."

Of course, they were willing to give all the information, apparently. But just ask for an enormous sum (not specified in the report) for it.

Microsoft says, "In fact Microsoft has consistently invested in helping customers integrate our platform and applications with a broad array of popular (and even not so popular) hardware, software and networks."

Really? Maybe they forgot to point this out to the EU? Sorry for the sarcasm. Genuinely. I have nothing against Microsoft or any other company, so long as they do not think that all others are total idiots.

Microsoft says, "We have partnered with Novell & Sun among others to ensure Windows interoperability across technology platforms."

Of course, that is old story. As though SuSe and Solaris are the only other operating systems people use. If Microsoft is really concerned about inter-operability, why not make the necessary information available to anyone? Why only to "partners"? What is Microsoft afraid of? They are, aren't they?

Microsoft says, "As a result of these efforts, Microsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio of interoperability software capabilities, from the operating system to individual applications. This development highlights our commitment to address customer interoperability needs, and that we acknowledge the mixed source environment needs of our customers. Our efforts are helping our customers run both Microsoft Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise systems seamlessly together."

LOL! Sorry for that. Meenu Handa who wrote this, must have written it before the EC slapped a record fine on the company. She probably had no clue about what was coming, and therefore may be excused. So if one wants to run GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows together, one better get SuSE. My God! They really seem to think that we all are idiots.

So far I have addressed only one paragraph in their response. I really do not have the patience to reply to the entire statement. Please read it. You may find it the biggest joke of the century. Hope you have a nice laugh.